Rhetorical Devices In Jfk Inaugural Address

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“On January 20, 1961, John F. Kennedy took the oath of office to become the nation's 35th president.” (1). Although he significantly won the electoral vote, he only won the popular vote just over 110,000 votes. Kennedy knew he had only half of the population agreeing with his platform. At his inauguration, John F. Kennedy gave a speech to with a single purpose to unify the American population. Most importantly John F. Kennedy gave a speech that delivered a message of strength and hope stretching across the world abroad. In his inaugural address, Kennedy wanted to inspire those in the United States, as well as those in other countries across the globe. To convey his message of unity and hope, Kennedy uses many rhetorical devices to get the …show more content…

In order to generate unity, Kennedy’s acknowledged a change, targeted his audience and created a call to action with the unified audience.
Kennedy acknowledged change first, in order to get the attention of those who did not vote for him. He knew it would be more difficult to resonate with those who did not vote for him on their ballot. He was able to achieve this using juxtaposition, allusion and metaphor rhetorical methods. He began with allusion when he said ”...oath our forebears, prescribed nearly a century and three quarters ago” and when he referenced “revolutionary beliefs.”(2) He aroused patriotic feelings among his non supporters. He did not reference any specific areas of the population. He brought their goals forward as if unfinished and made them the goals of his non-supporters. He tied the past to the present leaving no hole in between. This was particularly important in order to discourage division. He also used …show more content…

This included local supporters, other nations, new states, allies and adversaries. Using, fear, anaphora and Pathos, Kennedy was able to gleen the attention of allies and adversaries. Using fear of the atomic bomb, when he said “both rightly alarmed by the steady spread of the deadly atom, yet both racing to alter the uncertain balance of terror that stays in the hand of mankind's’ final war.”(14) The country had witnessed the atomic bomb of 1945 that threw the US into war. Kennedy bought this reminder as a tactic to unify the world. By using anaphora, the repetition of words, Kennedy created a quicker pace as if grabbing people as you are running through a crowd. It created a sense of urgency, excitement and hope when he said. “Let us begin a new”(15), “Let both sides explore”(16), “Let both sides formulate”(17), and “Let both sides seek”(18), “Let both sides unite.”(19) Although, he only said “let us” once, it was implied in the next 4 paragraphs. It created inclusiveness by allowing listeners to put themselves in paragraph they most fit. He also used pathos or emotion arousing words and ideas. Kennedy referenced to the “graves of young americans.”(22) When hearing “graves of young Americans”, and image formed in the minds of the listeners. They pictured the bodies of their own relatives and images they had seen on TV of young men killed in battle. The listeners were not able to ignore those images and

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